Top News, Articles, and Interviews in Philosophy

Wedding Cakes and Discrimination: An Analysis

For some reason, cakes became a major flashpoint in anti-discrimination law a few years ago. In the Masterpiece Cakeshop case in the US Supreme Court and the Asher’s Bakery case in the UK Supreme Court, courts were confronted with similar, albeit not identical dilemmas. In the Masterpiece Cakeshop case, two same-sex customers went into a bakery looking to purchase a wedding cake to celebrate their marriage. In the Asher’s Bakery case, a homosexual rights ‘activist’ looked to purchase a bespoke cake bearing the slogan ‘Support same-sex marriage’. In both cases, the bakers refused to supply the cake due to their Christian beliefs. In both cases, the respective Supreme Courts held that this refusal was legally permissible though for different reasons. The US decision was a narrow one that overturned a decision by a state tribunal on the grounds that it displayed religious hostility to the owner of the Masterpiece Cakeshop. The UK decision was a broader one, focusing on the freedom of conscience and expression of the baker. How should we think about these cases? The philosopher John Corvino has written an interesting analysis of the arguments in the Masterpiece Cakeshop case. Looking closely at two of the concurring judgments in the case, one from Justice Kagan and one from Justice Gorsuch, he suggests that there were legitimate grounds for thinking that the refusal of service by the owner of the Masterpiece Cakeshop was discriminatory. Corvino argues that there is an [More]

QAnon & Cthulhu

QAnon is essentially a conspiracy street sausage: scrap and leftovers of past conspiracies wrapped in the intestines of an apocalyptic cult and served up to people not very particular about what gets into their mind. But it is also a fascinating bit of story design that mirrors some classic techniques of horror adventurers and tales. [More]

Relevance Logic

[Revised entry by Edwin Mares on November 13, 2020. Changes to: Main text, Bibliography, logic-b-dj-dk.html] Relevance logics are non-classical logics. Called 'relevant logics' in Britain and Australasia, these systems developed as attempts to avoid the paradoxes of material and strict implication. These so-called paradoxes are valid conclusions that follow from the definitions of material and strict implication but are seen, by some, as [More]

Epistemic Epidemiology

Epistemology is a branch of philosophy concerned with theories of knowledge. The name is derived from the Greek terms for episteme (knowledge) and logos (explanation). Epidemiology is the study and analysis of the distribution, patterns and determinants of health and disease conditions in defined populations. While the names of the two fields sound alike, they [More]

Hunger in Italy? It is Coming Faster than Expected

  A malnourished Dutch girl during the "hongerwinter" of 1945. It was the last famine recorded in Western Europe -- but for how long?Olga Milanese, Italian lawyer living in Salerno, not far from Naples, wrote the post below as a comment in a Facebook group. I thought it was interesting enough to be reproduced here, and I do that with her kind permission. It seems that things are really collapsing in Italy. In a certain way, it was unavoidable, but it is amazing that it is happening so fast. The Covid crisis never was impossible to manage with a reasonable effort, but the Italian government bungled almost every aspect of the crisis, overreacting to it, using it as an excuse to terrorize people, while being totally ineffective at upgrading the health care system in such a way to handle the situation. In the process, the government managed to destroy the sources of income of the poor and of the most vulnerable sections of the Italian society -- and with that wrecking the whole economic system. Now, things are getting worse every day. Eventually it will end, I figure, but not before we reach the bottom, and it may be a hard landing.  By Olga MilaneseCan I say something a little strong? Then I'll really shut up, disappear and no longer speak, because I consider it useless by now. I understand all positions, really. Already in June I felt that the situation had not changed, that, at least in my opinion, the same mistakes continued to be made in the sanitary [More]